If Monday was any indication, the Philadelphia 76ers might be in for a fast exit from the second spherical of the NBA playoffs towards the Miami Warmth.
Philly struggled in nearly each aspect of the sport, and regardless of being aggressive for a short stretch of the competition, it fell to the Warmth, 106-92.
The Sixers’ franchise participant and doable league MVP, Joel Embiid, is out indefinitely with a fractured finger on his taking pictures hand, a concussion, and an orbital fracture.
They’re hoping to have him again later within the sequence.
ESPN Sources: Joel Embiid gained’t journey for Video games 1 and a couple of in Miami, however there’s optimism he may return as quickly as both Sport 3 or 4 in Philadelphia. He must clear concussion protocols and see physician mid-week on his orbital fracture. Extra on NBA Countdown at 12:30 ET on ABC.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 1, 2022
Though they’ve ample expertise, they merely don’t have sufficient with out Embiid to have any likelihood of defeating the top-seeded squad within the Jap Convention in a best-of-seven.
Embiid Means Every thing To Philly
Embiid is a very dominant large man in a league that many criticize for missing such gamers.
He led the NBA in scoring this season by averaging 30.6 factors per recreation whereas additionally placing up 11.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.5 blocked pictures a contest.
In six video games towards the Toronto Raptors within the first spherical of the postseason, Embiid put up 26.2 factors and 11.3 rebounds per recreation regardless of coping with his finger harm for a superb quantity of the sequence.
Joel Embiid doing every part he can to wake the Sixers up! pic.twitter.com/Q2I2HefnJk
— Brodes Media (@BrodesMedia) April 26, 2022
He combines the modern-day ball-handling abilities of a Hakeem Olajuwon with the old-school low publish recreation and energy of Moses Malone, the Corridor of Fame middle who led Philly to its final world championship in 1983.
When a staff loses a participant like that, it is going to be in numerous hassle come playoff time, regardless of how proficient it’s in any other case.
Sure, the Sixers have one other famous person in James Harden, however he merely gained’t be sufficient.
Harden Is Not Pulling His Weight
Simply a few years after happening probably the most prolific three-year spans in NBA historical past, Harden is developing small when the Sixers want him most.
After being despatched to the Delaware Valley by the Brooklyn Nets in a mid-season commerce, he shot simply 40.2 p.c and 32.6 p.c from 3-point vary in 21 common season video games, and within the sequence versus the Raptors, he hit simply 40.5 p.c of his shot makes an attempt.
On Monday towards the Warmth, the 2018 common season MVP scored simply 16 factors on 5-of-13 taking pictures from the sector.
Harden has a historical past of not coming via in key playoff video games, however now he’s not coming via in nearly each recreation.
Miami’s technique is to gradual the tempo to a crawl, and underneath regular circumstances, maybe the Sixers may take care of that fashion of play due to Embiid’s inside dominance.
However with out him, they’re largely impotent in a half-court recreation, at the least so long as Harden continues to play as if he’s washed up.
Philly Wants Embiid On ‘D’
Along with all he does offensively, Embiid can also be Philly’s anchor on the defensive finish, and with out him, it merely lacks a margin of error.
Harden has by no means been a superb defender, and regardless that backup guard Matisse Thybulle is an effective defender, the staff’s beginning lineup merely doesn’t have sufficient defensive means to comprise the likes of Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro.
Herro had 25 factors and 7 assists in Sport 1, and he might be in for an enormous sequence.